When decorating a room, it is usually quite easy to buy specific items without much knowledge. A quick walk through the likes of IKEA will quickly help you figure out what kind of taps you need for the kitchen sink, while sitting on enough sofas will help you easily choose something that suits a room perfectly.
The same, sadly, can’t be said for radiators. For being an essential item in homes, they are an item that most people quite rightly don’t know much about. You might be reading this in your living room right now while looking at your radiators without any idea of what type of radiator it is, or why it looks the part. Radiators don’t generally get a lot of love, after all we pretty much ignore them till they stop working. But, they can make a huge difference to a room. Not just in an aesthetic sense but also when it comes to energy efficiency. Choose the right one and you could see a dramatic difference in your heating costs.
Knowing which radiator will suit a room can seem daunting, but once you have a basic grasp of what different types look like (and are made from), it becomes very simple to get the right kind of radiator.
Here is what to know about the most popular radiator types you’ll find in homes in the UK, what makes each unique and suggestions as to where they fit best.
Does it get any more simple than a panel radiator? They’re slim, flat, and unimposing (unless you’re looking at fancy designer radiators). A good panel radiator will never do you wrong when you want a simple design and radiator that gets to work unencumbered. Because they’re so easy to make, they tend to be the cheapest you can buy.
They work in almost any room, as long as you have enough space on the wall.
If panels are the most common radiator around, columns are the cool cousin that comes around every once in a while to show off.
They work best in hallways, open-plan kitchens, and dining rooms where you don’t want people hitting their chair off a radiator anytime they need to leave the table.
Friends, gather round as I tell you about the fascinating world of convector radiators.
Ok, convector radiators might not sound like the coolest subject to be an expert on, but this subsection is much more varied than you could even imagine. You’ve got Compact, Flat Panel, Type 11/21/22, LST, Curved, Round Top & Seam Top to name just a few different convector radiator styles.
It’s a whole world unto itself, and with convector radiators being the most common in living rooms, I would recommend taking a deep dive on the different styles as the subtleties can be the difference between a radiator looking just right, and the design throwing off everything else in the room.
They work best in smaller rooms and anywhere you don’t want a radiator to be a stand-out item.
Cast Iron Radiators
Show me someone who says cast iron radiators aren’t classy and I’ll be able to call them a liar. I think cast iron radiators look superb, but most people are put off buying one for two reasons. Firstly, they unwittingly associate cast iron with being old, when cast iron radiators use the same technology as other modern radiators.
Secondly, there’s the issue of price. With cast iron radiators having pressings and designs on the side, people tend to think the effort involved means they’ll cost more, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Just look at the prices of some of the cast iron radiators at TradeRadiators.com, and you’ll see they’re not as pricey as they look.
They work best in rooms where you have space free around the radiator for people to see it, or rooms where you have exposed features like brick walls.
Turning things on their side, vertical radiators can be your best friend when you need to heat a big room but don’t have much space to use; although you should never think of vertical radiators as a radiator turned sideways.
Their internal pipe work is completely different, and many have valve entries coming directly into the radiator rather than at an angle. They work best when space is at a premium, and you want the same heat output as a normal radiator.
Flat Panel Radiators
The cool kid of the radiator world. Flat panel radiators can look exceptionally sleek, especially if you’re brave enough to pull off slate or charcoal colours. I feel they are grossly underestimated for the level of heat output they provide, and it’s easiest to think of them as a basic radiator without the dimples.
They work best in rooms where everything else has a contemporary or modern touch while being functional, so while they’ll look great in kitchens and bathrooms, the same won’t apply in living rooms.
One last radiator style to make a note of, infrared radiators are the dark horse of the radiator world. Not many people are talking about them, and they’re not the easiest to find in shops. They tend to work from electric, rather than normal home heating methods and are directional. While a normal radiator moves air up and around a room, infrared radiators move heat in the direction you point them towards. Due to their unique design and freedom of movements, they work best in living rooms and offices where you want a radiator higher on the wall. You can also use them outside if they are in a sheltered spot away from the danger of rain drops.
I hope this brief ride through all the main radiator types helps you figure out what radiators are best suited to your home. Just remember that it is more important to get a radiator that fits in with your room, rather than a radiator which looks nice but will stick out like a sore thumb.